Friday, 1 July 2011


We have had quite a few issues with our battery on poor old Jeeves. We got a new one a few months ago, as the old one didn't quite make it through the very cold winter. First everything was good, but it soon started playing up. We thought it might be the alternator, which would be quite expensive to fix, so we kept hoping it could be something else.

Black cabs, especially the older models, are made to be driven every day, so sometimes if they are not, the battery dies quite quickly. So when we went away for a month a while ago we had a friend look after Jeeves and babysit him, which he did very well. But Jeeves wouldn't have any of it, and when we came back the battery was dead again.

As our usual friendly mechanics were very busy, we went to Jim at Hackney Road Motor Engineers, who was recommended to us by a friend. The garage is on hackney road (the name might give that away), close to Cambridge Heath Station. When we walked in we realised it is actually back to back with our usual mechanics. Its good to keep it local.

The entrance on Hackney Road. Next to the bike shop disguised as a Chinese take-away

Jim's place is not a black cab garage but he does all sorts of cars. When we went, there were normal modern family ones and a couple of 1930's beautiful vintage pieces sitting side by side all being seen too with the same loving care.

The place to go

As Jeeves was completely out of juice Jim had picked him up from our street and hooked him up like a patient in an emergency room to once and for all charge his poor little battery. He was charging for one day and then left standing for two days to test if the battery would hold up.

Jim discovered that we have a light in the boot of the car, one of those that switches on when the door is open. As the general feel of Jeeves sometimes can be described as 'rustic', the boot hatch does not always reach the off-switch for the light, leaving it on and draining the battery. So Jim disconnected the light as we have no need for it anyway.

A general note on old black cab boot hatches; You should always double check that it is properly closed and locked as it otherwise can open while you are driving and bang into cars behind you. The hatch opens down, not up as on modern cars. We have seen it happen to others and have had a close call ourselves. So now we always double-check it when we have had it open.

However, the best thing that Jim introduced us to was the disconnection of the battery. We were about to go to Glastonbury, this being the longest drive we have done in Jeeves and having to leave him in a field for a week with the prospect of not getting home made us a little nervous. But this new exciting trick saved the day! Its super easy, and we think it is well worth knowing about so stay tuned for the next post with the instructions on how to do this.

Instead of hoping the battery will last, or relying on other cars to jump start us, we are now just disconnecting the whole thing, so there is no chance for the battery to get drained. The purr with which Jeeves started after a week of having been disconnected was positively the best sound ever. It is easily the best thing since sliced bread. In fact, sliced bread is not even close.

1 comment:

  1. Is this the garage which set up your passenger seat? I couldn't find anything on the Oval and Emma St as you pointed out in another post.